Calke Abbey

Calke Abbey is known as the 'Unstately Home' so be prepared for a surprise.  Near Ticknall in Derbyshire, it was built on the site of a 12th century Augustinian Priory.  The priory was there until the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII and, between 1701 and 1704, a baroque mansion occupied the site.  The present building, named Calke Abbey, was built in 1808.  The house was owned by the Harpur family for nearly 300 years until it was passed to the National Trust in1985 in lieu of death duties.

The house is deliberately shown in a state of decline as it was when the Trust took over.  Necessary stabilisation work has been done but there has been little restoration.  The family never threw anything away so there is a huge collection of things to see.

To the side of the house is a large quadrangle of buildings forming the old stable yard and farm complete with old carriages and farm implements.  The outbuildings incorporate a brewhouse that is linked to the main house by a tunnel.

The Trust manages the surrounding landscape park with an eye to nature conservation.  It contains such features as a walled garden with a flower garden and a former physic garden, now a kitchen garden.  The ancient deer park of the Calke Abbey estate is a designated national nature reserve, particularly noted for its rare wood pasture habitat.

To find out more, visit the National Trust website.